The trainer is Youri Vlag of Absolute Coffee, who says that the new idea offers a remarkable combination of benefits in both cost and practicality.
- "I was brainstorming about barista training and how to offer something uniqueâ¦ and this was the result. We are going to be, to my knowledge, the first company in the world to offer a one-to-one online barista training course
"We run a lot of courses, and we find that sometimes people can't make it to us, especially when they are located quite far away. This is a shame, and we hate to disappoint. So we had to come up with an answer. The answer is a three-hour course and is done over the internet using a webcam and Skype - it is like a video conference call, but much better!"
The great advantage, says Vlag, is that the students can be comfortable in their own familiar surroundings, in front of the equipment they are used to, whether at work or at home. He sends the candidate a kilo of his Absolute Espresso coffee and, when they are ready, they connect by Skype.
"This has several other advantages," says Vlag. "No travel or accommodation costs are involved, and Skype is free video-calling; the students gets to work on machines they are familiar within in their own environment. All they have to buy is some milk, and maybe a webcam. They copy the trainer as he works, can do it any time of day, and anywhere in the world."
Absolute Coffee will still run its usual in-person barista courses. However, Vlag predicts that the use of Skype may even lead to remote group sessions.
"For those who think this is crazy and can't be done, we would like to prove them wrong. It can be done and we are going to do it!"
Coffee House magazine has seen a sample session, and reports that sound and vision seemed perfectly clear to follow.
By Ian Boughton